[First cut] Vivo Z1 Pro: Vivo unleashes the Z factor

First off the Z block

by: - Last updated on: June 22nd, 2019

There is a new smartphone series in town, and it comes from Vivo. The Chinese brand had an excellent first quarter in the Indian market and is now looking to capitalize on it by launching a new series, the Vivo Z series. And the first phone to come with the “Z” tag is the Vivo Z1 Pro. Although its price has not been officially announced at the time of writing, its spec sheet and design would indicate that it is squarely targeted at the very competitive mid segment of the Indian smartphone market.

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Trendy but not a trendsetter

The new age smartphone design makes all smartphones come with a tall edge to edge displays, but while they may be getting tall, they have stayed pretty much the same in terms of width. That seems to be different when it comes to the Vivo Z1 Pro. It comes with a 6.5-inch display, but along with looking tall, the phone also looks a little wider as compared to mainstream smartphones. And when a tall display also gets wide, it means you get more display than usual. Hooray! The front of the Vivo Z1 Pro is dominated by the 6.5-inch tall (and wide) display. It is surrounded by extremely thin bezels on three sides while the chin is slightly thicker. In the world of notches, and drop notches and pop-ups, Vivo has decided to go with an in-display front camera which basically is a punch hole display. The brand has placed the front camera on the top left side of the display while the earpiece sits on the top.

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The Vivo Z1 Pro does not only look trendy from the front, flip it over, and the phone screams trends. It comes with a reflective, shiny back with color gradient, that curves on the outside. We received the Sonic Blue variant of the smartphone which has a lighter shade of blue on top that deepens as it flows down. It might have been an unusual shade a couple of years ago, but blues and its hues have got very popular of late.

A triple camera setup is placed on the top left side in an elongated capsule unit along with the flash while a physical squircle (square-ish circle, geddit?) fingerprint scanner sits right next to it. The smartphone comes with Vivo branding on the lower half of the back. Along with the traditional buttons like the volume rocker and the power button, the phone’s frame also holds a smart button which is basically a Google Assistant button that can wake up the virtual assistant, turn on Google Lens and start up a conversation with the assistant. The phone holds the speaker grille, the micro USB port, and 3.5 mm audio jack on the base. The dual SIM card tray with a dedicated microSD card slot sits on the left side of the frame.

Because the Vivo Z1 Pro looks and feels slightly more wide and comes with a tall 6.5-inch display, the phone is definitely difficult to operate with a single hand, and because it has a glass-y glossy back, it is slippery and gets smudged very easily. That said, the smartphone looks good and based only on the looks and design, the Vivo Z1 Pro can easily sneak into the close to Rs. 30,000 price segment and it will fit right in. Its design language is in line with the latest trends, but because most smartphones follow a similar pattern, the phone does not really stand out.

Mid-segment specs with gaming aspirations

While the design of the Vivo Z1 Pro seems to place it under the Rs. 30,000 umbrella, the spec sheet of the phone suggests that the smartphone fits best in the sub Rs. 20,000 segment. The device comes with a 6.5-inch full HD+ AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels. The display looks pretty bright and responded well during our first impressions.

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The Vivo Z1 Pro is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 712, making it one of the first in the Indian market to come with it. It is paired with 6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. The smartphone is expected to be available in two other variants: 6 GB/ 128 GB and 4 GB/ 64 GB. The storage on the device can be expanded up to 256 GB via microSD card (to repeat: it has a dedicated microSD card slot). The 712 succeeds the Snapdragon 710, which we saw turn in a very good performance in the Nokia 8.1 and the Realme 3 Pro. Even though we are yet to test the phone properly, the company claims that the SD 712 is 10 percent faster than the SD 710. Now that may not seem like a huge step up, but for the gaming crowd that might mean a lot. And the Z1 Pro definitely has some high gaming aspirations. It was the official smartphone of the PUBG Mobile Club Open 2019, so it can be safe to assume that it is capable of handling some very heavy duty gaming. Just how well it does will be revealed in our detailed review.

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The Vivo Z1 Pro brings a triple camera setup on the back which consists of a 16-megapixel main sensor with f/1.8 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultra wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture and a 2-megapixel depth sensor with f/ 2.4 aperture. On the front, there is a 32-megapixel in-display sensor for selfies with f/ 2.0 aperture. The camera and megapixel count of the Vivo Z1 Pro is definitely on the impressive side. Yes, there is no 48-megapixel sensor here, but that does not mean that the cameras will not perform well – Vivo has a very good track record in the camera department.

Making sure that a lot of that display, camera, and gaming keeps going for a while is the task of a massive 5,000 mAh battery, which comes with fast charging support. An 18W charger sits right inside the box as well. The phone runs on Android 9.0 (Pie) and comes with a layer of Vivo’s in-house FuntouchOS_9, which is pretty comprehensive, to say the least.

Stepping into the mid-segment battle?

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It may have taken the wraps off it, but Vivo has yet to announce the pricing of the Z1 Pro in the market officially. But as per the spec sheet, we expect it to be priced somewhere in the vicinity of Rs 15,000. If priced so, the phone will find itself surrounded by some fierce competition like the Redmi Note 7 Pro, which is the ruling smartphone of the segment, the Realme 3 Pro and of course, Samsung’s array of M series devices. Along with the price, a lot will depend on how well the phone performs. Does it have a Z factor to stand out? To know that, stay tuned for our detailed review.

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